Convergence View

Ramesh Jain writes about the impact of the recent announcement of Comcast and Microsoft working together:

Set top box is not going to be just a simple recorder or a simple controller of TV programs; it is going to a major enabler of new technology that will enter TV space. In terms of electronics and computing technology, so far most of the advances in TV space have been in hardware and communication (transmission). Software has played role only in production of programs. Many people realized quite some time ago that some day all broadcasting will be like portals a place where people will be able to access what they want rather than being forced to watch what is on line at that moment. TiVO is not the solution it is a very small step in that direction and a step that is not scalable because it is at the consumer end. What are required are storage, organization, and access techniques at the server (broadcast company, or a cable company) level. This will require all that CNN.COM, Google, and Comcast bring to table in terms of technology. If you think that this is some day in future and is really not going to happen soon, see an interesting article on a new company being formed, RipeTV.

Producing such programs and putting them at one place organized in the form of a taxonomy and search through that taxonomy will be the first step, but the real progress will come when there will be sites like current web search engines that will find all such things, not only archived but live events also, and present those to a user on request based on the profile and context of the user.

Internet like TV?

The Seattle Times writes about Yahoo’s plans:

Yahoo! is quietly but aggressively lobbying Hollywood to create programs to be shown exclusively on its network of Web sites.

People familiar with the discussions say Yahoo! is pressing entertainment-industry producers and talent agents to start pitching new shows and short films that the Internet giant could license for viewing online. No longer satisfied to simply repackage film trailers and TV clips, some Yahoo! executives believe the surge in broadband connections means the Internet may finally be ready to operate more like a television network, these people said.

The business model is unclear, but Yahoo! is considering advertising and subscription fees to cover the cost of the programs, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Yahoo! thinks consumers will embrace its efforts this time. More than half of Web surfers in the U.S. have high-speed Internet connections at home, and people who use broadband spend much more time online than people who have dial-up connections.

Besides, Yahoo! needs to create more places to put ads. By luring customers with sports scores, news stories and other information, the company raked in $1.2 billion from online advertisers in 2003. Now the portal is running out of space for more ads and sponsorship notices.

Video ads that resemble TV commercials command even higher prices, and that could more than cover Yahoo!’s costs.